Access to the legal…
We've written to the Turkish authorities about our concerns about the hostile environment in which lawyers in Turkey have had to work since July 2016.
The president of the Republic of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko.
We wrote the letter jointly with Lawyers for Lawyers, a Dutch foundation that seeks to promote the proper functioning of the rule of law by pursuing freedom and independence of the legal profession.
We're concerned about the arrest and detention of the Belarusian lawyer Leanid Sudalenka.
Leanid Sudalenka is the chairman of the Homiel branch of the Viasna Human Rights Centre and 2018 winner of the French Republic’s “Liberty- Equality-Fraternity Prize” for his human rights work.
On 5 January 2021, officers searched his offices in connection with a criminal case that was opened in December 2020 against opposition activist Uladzimir Nepomniashchykh. Leanid Sudalenka was due to appear as a witness in this case.
It's alleged that 304 items were seized during the search, including case files and his laptop and bank cards. The Belarusian authorities have also searched his apartment where his work computer and another two bank cards were taken.
Following the searches he was taken for an interrogation where it has been reported that the questioning was primarily focussed about the legal advice provided to those detained, fined and arrested during the post-electoral protests in Homiel. After this interrogation, he was released.
On 18 January 2021, Leanid Sudalenka was detained by the Investigative Committee of Belarus as part of a criminal case which alleged he was "organising or preparing actions that grossly violate the public order or taking active part in such actions". For many hours he was denied access to his lawyer.
On 29 January 2020, Viasna Human Rights Centre reported that he had been charged with "financing actions that grossly violate the public order". He is currently in custody in a pre-trial detention centre in Homiel.
We urged the relevant authorities in Belarus to:
We've been monitoring the situation in Belarus and have published previous letters: